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  • Writer's pictureSt. John's Lutheran

A Peace That Only God Can Provide-He Sent It to the World in an Infant Born in Bethlehem!

Psalm 122:6-9

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! 7 Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” 8 For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” 9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

December 20, 2021

Katharina Von Bora was a child when her widower father sent her off to a boarding school run by Benedictine nuns. Her mother had died and her father quickly remarried a woman who had children of her own. Katie had a couple of brothers and probably an older sister as well (scholars aren’t quite sure), but with the young daughter in the care of nuns it was one less mouth to feed even if it cost her father a sum at first. She was a smart girl who loved school, and this particular school would ensure her a life that led to the cloister. At just 5 years old, when children today are enrolling in kindergarten, Katie Von Bora was on her way to becoming a nun.

At such a young age, Katie never dreamed that she would have a life married to a rebel pastor from Wittenberg University. However, as Martin Luther wrote about the issues of the medieval Church, especially that a person should not enter the monastic life unless they are called by God to such a vocation, word reached the Cistercian nunnery in Nimbschen, Germany. Many of the nuns read Luther’s tracts and subsequently ran from their holy orders (or rolled away in emptied out pickle barrels).

Today is the feast day of Katie Luther, a saint in her own right and not just because she was the wife of Martin. She inspired the reformer and cared for him and their children. She comforted him when they lost a child to sickness, and they lost two girls — Elizabeth at eight months, and Magdalena at twelve years. Katie fed Martin’s students who gathered in their home and even chimed in on the conversations. She understood her husband’s ministry and encouraged him in his darkest days when the enemy attacked him fiercely. Mrs. Luther made sure that the Luther household was filled with the peace of Christ.

The psalmist sang with the people of Israel as they marched to Jerusalem, “Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” We still pray for peace in Jerusalem and all of Israel, but we also pray and yearn for peace within our own walls, at our own kitchen tables, in our family rooms where the most precious among us dwell. As we draw nearer to the nativity of Christ, we sing out with the angels the same cry for “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

This kind of peace we long for is not simply an absence of strife. It’s not just being free from conflict or heartache. It’s more than getting along to get along. Rather, the peace of Christ — the very Prince of Peace — is “shalom” the Hebrew word for peace which means “I hope all is well with you.” This is a deep, satisfying state of being that occurs even when there is strife and conflict. It is a peace that only God can provide for His people, and He sent it to the world in the form of a helpless infant, lying in the feed box of some farm animals in Bethlehem.

As we look to the cattle stall behind the inn where Mary and Joseph sought refuge, as we think of Katie and Martin and the peace and refuge of their home, may our hearts be filled with true peace, the peace of Christ. May our homes be filled with that same peace, and may our children know and trust the Prince of Peace. Amen.

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